“It takes a village to raise a child.”
A village is defined as “a gathering of humans” by most dictionaries, but I would like to take that term a little bit further. Being an active member of two “villages”, in two different countries has been an eye opening world schooling reality for my own children and I. For me, there is no doubt of the positive outcome this will bring in the years ahead. What do you think?
Everyone loves having a nephew, a grandson, a cousin, a distant relative that comes to visit often. We all seem to enjoy the getting together more than the turkey or the wrapped gifts during family reunions. We all find pleasure in those storytelling late night events among our people, but, what if you could do this in two different countries? Dividing your time through the seasons, depending on the weather and its assault on how we react to temperature changes, sounds like a plan right? Well this is one of the perks of having a cross cultural relationship. The village grows and everyone is happy to enjoy a new member.
The fire lights up these new faces and we all get to know each other, like the natives of old days. Family bonding was more important than other trivialities, why should it be any different for us.
Start a fire of recognition for these positive things. Being blessed with the fact that at any given time you could be sitting at a table, with more than fifteen of your in laws, is a clear opportunity to exercise camaraderie, and we are the best at that when we are surrounded by people who feel the same way. The village you help build with the one you love suddenly becomes a small chapter of a greater community, and besides, who could say no to Tia Eili if she wants to babysit your children, while you and your partner go to see The Rolling Stones playing in Havana? Yes, that’s right. It happened to me, and I tell you, after that night I was utterly in love with how much care I felt from all my new Cuban relatives. They thrive in that community power. Probably because the way socialism is breed into their minds, that need they have to become a single community, but that is a topic for another social observation essay, there are many downfalls to contemporary Cuban society. Nonetheless, I am a proud member of a Cuban-Canadian village and we sure like to share this with the world.
Don’t be cautious about your own cultural integration with your partner’s family. To be able to sing in a different language, dance to a music you don’t understand but that makes you move, to see how your children enjoy talking in three languages or more, and how they feel so much joy in diversity, sure pays off the pool of differences you may see in the beginning of your relationship. After all, there is nothing but beauty in how the colors of the world seem to flow with each other, when we see those pictures that are taken from outer space. Doesn’t it look like we are part of one single village? Untamed by preconceived ideas of culture and religion and race?
We sit around the fire to be part of the ones we love, and when this fire is grown by the presence of your in-laws and their own views and cultural depth, the fire shines a beautiful shinny crystal light. Enjoy those moments, for it is still the fire of community what changes the lives of those around you, and more significantly the life of your children. It helps them build an awareness that is not learn from relationships that lack integration, and don’t get me wrong, there is a natural beauty that is also present in any family unit filled with love and understanding. There is no difference in love and how it nurtures all families, independent of their background. But the diversifying presence intercultural relationships bring to their children intensifies the worldview your children will have in the future, and this is one of the most marked classic differences. The fire of love will never stop burning, and your village will grow more from it.
We were once ruled by a central community, a village that helped shape who we are. Our cousins, our grandmas, our aunts and uncles. They are the source of our strength, the sculptors of our social mind, the village that build the fire for our hearts to be in a never-ending warm embrace. Nothing has changed! Now your village includes another country. Enjoy it!